50 Shades of Grey: ‘Smog Art’ in China Tues 30 Jan 6pm

This presentation will examine societal responses to air pollution in China through a discussion of ‘smog art’.

Key Information

Speaker: Thomas Johnson (Lecturer, University of Sheffield)
50 Shades of Grey: The Emergence of ‘Smog Art’ in China
Tuesday, 30 January, 6-8 pm
50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh

SYNOPSIS

Smog art, which refers to artwork that engages with the issue of severe ambient air pollution, has become increasingly common in China. It includes various art forms such as paintings, photography, and performance art.

This presentation is based on documentary data and approximately 20 interviews conducted with artists and curators in Beijing, chosen due to its poor air quality and high concentration of artists. It explores why artists produce smog art, how they navigate China’s authoritarian political environment, and the meanings they attach to their work—including the extent to which they view smog art as a form of resistance.

BIOGRApHY

Thomas Johnson is Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield. Before that, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy at City University of Hong Kong. His work examines environmental activism in China, and has been published in journals such as The China Quarterly, Regulation & Governance, and Environmental Politics.

Speaker: Thomas Johnson (Lecturer, University of Sheffield)
50 Shades of Grey: The Emergence of ‘Smog Art’ in China
Tuesday, 30 January, 6-8 pm
50 George Square, Project Room (1.06), University of Edinburgh

The image shown is a satellite picture of smog over Tianjin taken in 2013.